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I Am Finally Getting Healthy

Quick health & wellness update:

🌎 I am avoiding all fast food
🌍 I am bringing food with me on the go from home, thus, not eating out/spending money/overeating
🌏 I am focusing on increased protein, cutting sugar, and reducing carbs
🐬 I am only drinking water for my beverage, except for 1 cup of coffee each morning, which I hope to wean off off soon
🐳 I feel better EACH AND EVERY DAY; I am feeling lighter, more mobile, happier, and just so elated
👌🏻 Since I began this journey in late-September, I am down 19 lbs; I would say I'm in disbelief, but I'm more just thrilled that I'm doing something right in order to drop the weight

Thank you to Greg Thurston for your incredible guidance, motivation, fitness and nutrition advice, and personal training! 💪🏼 It's still only the beginning, but I am utterly thrilled with how much my life has changed already! 👍🏻

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"The Last Five Years" - An Amazing Work of Musical Theatre

I've now listened to both versions of "The Last Five Years":

"The Last Five Years" cast album from 2002, featuring Norbert Leo Butz and Sheri Rene Scott.

...and "The Last Five Years" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from 2014, with some of my favorite people, Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.

I truly love them both. They both offer something unique and special. I love how the movie album gives an "updated" and "fresh" sound, if you will.

OH DANG! I just saw on sh-k-boom's website that there's also a 2013 Off-Broadway Cast Recording!!! Gotta listen to that one too!

But besides all these versions, the music is just truly incredible, moving beyond belief, and so rich and deep. I live for some of this music.

My absolutely favorite song is "A Miracle Would Happen" that Jamie sings. At the end of the song, after Cathy has her bit, when he hits the high note and the climax happens, that is one of the most AMAZING eargasm moments I've ever heard. It's so powerful, and I just love the message of the song.

"Still Hurting" is painful and gorgeous. Painful to think of how Cathy feels, that is. "Moving Too Fast" is so exciting, to think of being that successful and all before 24. I can imagine it being such an elating feeling! "The Schmuel Song" is just... there's no words. It's entertaining, it's poignant, and just so perfect. I've played "A Summer In Ohio" for a singer before and it's just such a party! Both "Climbing Uphill" and "I Can Do Better Than That" are so driven with energy. Let's not forget the ingenious aspect of the show that is the contrary motion of Jamie & Cathy's timeline... it makes for such a tearjerking and bittersweet final song, "Goodbye Until Tomorrow / I Could Never Rescue You". That simple waltz on the piano is so unbelievably gorgeous... and when Jamie sings along to it it adds such a beautiful layer. The violin, too. Such an acute ending... what a journey this album (or movie) takes you on...

While I know this work has gotten lots of attention in the last 15 years since it premiered, I feel it's good enough to have been running Off-Broadway this whole time (in my opinion). With just two actors in the show and a small ensemble of musicians, it wouldn't take that much personnel to run the show (there is, of course, the crew, the house, box office, etc etc, I realize that lol).

I cannot wait for the day that I may be so fortunate to play or Music Direct this show... it's a work of art. Thank you, Jason Robert Brown, for your amazing contribution to the canon of musical theatre!

[This was just posted on my Facebook page.]

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Surviving Bipolar Disorder

[The following was posted as a Facebook post on August 22, 2016, while I was in South Lake Tahoe at one of my best friend's weddings. My mood? "Feeling broken". I got 57 'likes' and a plethora of love and support from friends and family. I am very blessed.]

Exactly 5 years ago today, I was experiencing my worst manic episode of my lifetime, that lasted for about the next week or so.

It's been so long since then, but I still can't get rid of the huge embarrassment I feel for everything that happened. All of my ridiculous and self-righteous statuses, everything that went on in San Francisco, and realizing that my senior year was ruined because of it. Sure, I finished after taking a semester off, but it wasn't the same.

I am so truly hurt by all of the people who stopped being my friends. The people who didn't understand I was very ill and couldn't control my actions; the people who still to this day, BEST FRIENDS OF MINE, who have completely abandoned me and left me for nothing. You people are not true friends. The true friends are the ones who stick with you, through thick and thin, through the bad times. I am moving on and trying to forget about those people, but my trust has forever been tainted.

I survived my diagnosis. I am constantly fighting it every day. I strive to be a good and wholesome person.

I am so thankful to those of you who haven't abandoned me. This weekend in South Lake Tahoe with Laura Phippen, all her family and her friends, was so enjoyable. Time to leave this beautiful place and head back to reality. I'm excited for the future and all of the opportunities I've been blessed with. But, as I've said before, and as others have seen, Facebook can be poisonous. It reminds you of people you are only acquaintances with, and of memories you sometimes don't want to remember. It's full of awful political jargon, and stupid videos to waste your time. I want to distance myself more.

And I want to focus on my friends and family that truly matter. I'd rather have a much smaller circle of friends that are quality, than many more who are just quantity.


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Willis Clan Child Rape Allegations

I find this to be very shocking.

Just the other day, I was wondering how this family was doing. I admit, I had become a fan of this family and their show, "The Willis Clan", having watched many episodes.

I've had mixed feelings of these super-sized "factory-like" families, the first being the Duggar family of "19 Kids and Counting". An oddity about both of these families is that all of the 19 Duggar kids and all of the 12 Willis kids' names ALL start with the letter "J"; the Willis family reports that it's merely coincidence and that they just like the letter J.

Anyway, I am all in support of a family that supports the arts, like the Willis family. From what I saw in their show, I felt that the kids appeared to be raised very well, they truly supported each other, and they strived to achieve highly in anything that they did. I certainly noticed that the family patriarch, Toby Willis, was a bit of a strict father figure, especially when it came to his girls, like it states in this article.

What I never really understood was the whole "courting" situation. Isn't that extremely dated? I mean, I don't know anyone in my whole life who's asked their crush's father for permission to date their daughter. It's a nice gesture--shows respect and all. But then in one episode they had what appeared to be get-togethers where it's like they were giving their kids a choice of who to date, and I just thought, "That's such a small circle of people to choose from..." And I am fairly certain the Duggar family does things like this too.

Both families have been homeschooled their entire lives, and I have NOTHING against that: homeschooling appears to be a great thing, and we all know that public school isn't the most admirable institution, with all of its bureaucracy, politics, and time wasting.

HOWEVER, my biggest concern of BOTH of these families (this isn't to compare them, and really the point of this post is about the Willis family), is that several of the kids in both families got into their twenties, and apparently NONE of them had attended college. None. In the Willis family, the oldest children are 22-24 years old, and they still live at home and are pursuing their activities with the rest of the family. There's nothing wrong with living with your parents after you're 18, especially if your goal/intent is to save money. But that usually happens AFTER you've gone to college, and not someone who's never left home. Originally, I didn't see why the parents didn't encourage their older children to attend college, but if they went to a college even in-state, it would take them away from the family dynamic, and I can see how keeping the family close is important. Besides, there's tons you can learn from your parents and from online courses and study and whatnot. But what I found out through research is that neither of the Willis parents attended college, AND if you read later in this article, because of a terribly tragic event that happened to Toby Willis' family in 1994, his family did not have to work because of the whopping $100 million settlement they received.

It's unfortunate that TLC canceled their show; I'm not sure what the reason was, but that was back in May. I still plan on watching the remainder of season 1 and then season 2, of which I haven't seen, but I wonder what is to become of these children, and their mother. I just feel that these kids are too sheltered, if I may throw that out there. If you stick with your family 100% of the time, and never get out into the world on your own, how do you develop true independence? Sure, these kids travel the country with their music group and I'm sure for their dance competitions and wrestling, but how many of them have taken a trip on their own? Delved into a hobby that none of their other family members did?

I've never thought that Toby Willis seemed like a bad man, but I don't understand when this kind of scandal happens in both of these super-size families. It just seems strange. And I can imagine having your family televised for a number of years can taint your image of reality and privacy.

[Posted to my Facebook page on 10/7/16.]

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Donald's a Class Act


As you can see from the news yesterday, The Donald is a real class act.

Never before in the history of America has a candidate on either side, Republican or Democrat, been so absolutely disgusting, lewd, thoughtless, and careless with their words.

I find forgiveness in my head for many things that people do. We're all not perfect people. But, when you plan to run for something as HUGE as President of the United States, knowing you've said things like this, knowing that nothing is hidden when you're running for a public office, there's no forgiveness here. What you have is a narcissistic, egotistical maniac who wants to be the most important figure in America and is on some kind of power trip.

I have admired Donald Trump for his business and real estate ventures, and I do enjoy his books. I will think of him as only a businessman, not a politician and certainly not as a leader of this country.

Enough said.

[Posted to my Facebook page in reaction to Donald Trump's lewd remarks about sexually harassing women.]

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"The Fundamentals of Caring" (2016) Netflix Original Movie

Just finished the movie, "The Fundamentals of Caring" on Netflix, and it was really enjoyable. Starring Paul Rudd ("slappa da bass!"), Craig Roberts, and Selena Gomez, it's actually quite poignant and humorous at the same time.

It's rated TV-MA and I'd say for a good reason, because there's quite a lot of profanity; definitely not for children, or for those easily offended by the 'f' word.

Other than that, I really love Paul Rudd's acting, Selena Gomez was decent (she had a rather small role), and Craig Roberts was fantastic. THE CRAZY THING is that I simply CANNOT place where I've seen that actor before!

[Side note: I've been realizing lately that many people I know have what you would call a "familiar face". I've come across this twice in 24 hours. So, it's possible this actor just LOOKS so ridiculously similar to someone I know in real life, or like another actor, but there's just something about his eyes/facial structure/etc that I can't figure out. I've even looked up his filmography and I don't believe I've seen any other films he's in, or at least that I recall him being in.]

Check it out if you have an hour and a half and a Netflix account! 9/10 stars.

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    The Fantasticks - "It Depends On What You Pay"
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Organ & Opera

[A post I made to LiveJournal on Sat, August 13, 2016.]

I had a pretty cool day of music yesterday =).

It began with my twice a month organ lesson. I feel bad because I just can't seem to get myself to practice the organ as much as I'd like, or as much as my teacher would like, but I am truly working to improve that. During the lesson I was thinking, "Sigh, I just don't like organ as much as piano!" I wouldn't tell my teacher that, though, because I really respect her, and these lessons are being provided by my church as a part of continuing education, so I TOTALLY appreciate them, you know? But it's hard being a "student" when I am driving all over the Bay Area, playing for this and that rehearsal, fitting in my own students, playing for two church services a week, on top of going to the gym for my personal training sessions now (!!!).

But as I was driving yesterday, I put in one of the organ CDs my teacher let me borrow, and it's just INCREDIBLE! I listened to one of the most well-known pieces in the organ repertory, "Toccata and Fugue in d minor" by J.S. Bach, and while the Toccata is a bit overplayed, the fugue is just GORGEOUS and so moving and powerful, and the other pieces on the CD were captivating and just so fantastic. Organ is truly a different beast, as I've said before. It's nothing like piano. You are an entire ORCHESTRA! A great organist is able to utilize the stops and manuals to make sounds of flutes, strings, trumpet, and to give that exciting "rumble" that you hear that is just chilling!

Of course, there are the practical difficulties of practicing organ: I can't just get out of bed and walk over to an organ: I have to drive to the church, set it up, and plan to be there at least an hour or it's not worth it. I am exploring the option of practicing at a church in Brentwood, so as to not always have to drive back to Concord. Also, organ is physically EXHAUSTING! The pedals are so very important, and to be really excellent at them takes leg muscle, and right now I'm not in good shape, so even half an hour of organ practice is tiring. But, I know that in time it will get easier!

The second aspect of my day in music was that I am REALLY liking opera nowadays! I've had the pleasure of working with a few fantastic conductors, and six AMAZING soloists, in rehearsal for the gorgeous opera "La Bohéme" by Puccini! We have been rehearsing in Palo Alto and Los Altos, and this work is just absolutely stunning. I mean, I've always known opera is incredible, but with SO MANY genres of the classical repertoire to study, opera wasn't on the top of my list; I was more focused on solo piano repertoire, chamber music, collaborative repertoire, and musicals. But now, working with these incredible musicians, I really want to delve more into the vast repertoire of opera that spans over 400 years.


Driving vs. BART

I love driving and I really don't like BART, haha. [BART is "Bay Area Rapid Transit", which is the system of trains that connect San Francisco to the Bay Area and the Peninsula.]

I'd actually rather drive, pay toll, pay expensive parking, and then suffer and fight through the traffic on the way back to the East Bay, lol. All this because I really don't like BART.

Actually, I think it's because I don't like BART when I know the ride will be crowded. Knowing I would be taking it between 5:30-6:00 PM, when it's PRIME TIME, standing in the train car like sardines, ugh, I REALLY hate it.

Driving is so much more relaxing. My car, my space, my music or audio book, and a guaranteed place to sit!

[Written on my iPhone.]

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This Crazy Phenomenon Called "Hamilton"

There is a new musical sweeping the Broadway land in Times Square of New York City. It is "Hamilton: An American Musical", by the incredible Lin-Manuel Miranda. This gentleman wrote the music, lyrics, and book for the show, and it is downright astounding.

I am absolutely in love with this musical. It is not one to completely understand from your first listen, and let me tell you why: the cast album is made up of forty-six(46) songs. Yes, I repeat: 46 songs. There are 23 songs in each act, and that is a HEFTY cast album. The total duration is 2:22:16, which is just amazing, because the show itself runs 2h, 55m, including a 15m intermission, meaning it is almost entirely sung-thru, like other sensational musicals (“Les Miserables”, for instance). I often enjoy shows that are ALL music, because it makes it that much more enticing. However, when the storyline DOESN’T make sense, like with “The Wild Party” by Andrew Lippa, which I recently saw in San Francisco, dialogue is much appreciated! That show didn’t have ENOUGH dialogue. Sigh, we can’t have everything, can we?

The hype surrounding this show has been INTENSE ever since the show had its first preview on Broadway on July 13, 2015, and opened on August 6, 2015. Every single show has been wildly sold out, and at first, tickets were expensive, but manageable. You could get a ticket for about $200-300. I am KICKING myself because I was in New York City from February 11-15, 2016 this year, and I had the opportunity to see Hamilton for exactly $300.00. That may sound incredibly expensive for a Broadway show, and in some ways, it kind of is, because for me, I often pay between $80-150 for a Broadway show. The most I’ve ever paid is $152.75 and that was for “The Lion King” in 2011. So, seeing a show for double that price being considered “cheap”, is kind of humorous. No one’s laughing now.

On June 12, 2016, “Hamilton”, which was nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony Awards, swept the night and won 11 Tony’s, including all of the big ones, such as “Best Musical”, “Best Score”, “Best Book of a Musical”, “Best Choreography”, “Best Orchestrations”, “Best Lighting Design”, and “Best Lead Actor in a Musical” (Leslie Odom, Jr.). James Corden, the hilarious British host of “The Late Late Show”, was the host for the evening. In light of the terrible Orlando Pulse Shootings that occurred earlier that day, the Tony’s were an amazing night filled with love, acceptance, and camaraderie. Lin-Manuel Miranda, if he wasn’t already amazing enough (being the face behind “Hamilton”, and my other favorite show, “In The Heights”, 2008 Tony Winner), he wrote an emotional sonnet addressing the Orlando massacre which fills me with tears every time I hear it. Among other words, he states, “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love,” and that we should “fill the world with music, love and pride.” I love Lin-Manuel Miranda so much for being such an outstanding human being, for being so humble, for bringing the world his music, and for truly revolutionizing the sound of Broadway music as we know it today. No doubt he will join the ranks of the best and most well-known theatre composers: Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Stephen Sondheim, and Alan Menken.

In listening to “Hamilton” since the Tony Awards last Sunday, I am in constant awe and bliss at how timeless and moving this show is. In a word, this show is spellbinding. Your attention is hooked from the first sound you hear, and it’s not over until it’s over. The storyline is incredible, the usage of words and phrasing and timing and prosody is just out of this world. The music is just downright COOL. And, not to put it lightly, incredibly emotional. A few songs stand out to me, such as “Dear Theodosia”, “Take A Break”, “It’s Quiet Uptown”, and “Who Lives Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”. I currently listen to the album via Amazon Music Prime and their iPhone app, though I will likely purchase the album to show my support.

My original intent of writing this post was to point out how incredible the prices for this show have gone up because of its popularity and its Tony wins, but also because the composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is leaving the show on July 9, 2016. Yes, did I forget to mention that NOT ONLY does this man write the music, lyrics, and book, but is also an incredibly talented singer, dancer, and actor, and in both “In The Heights” and “Hamilton” he starred in the title role of his own shows? Yes, it’s true. Thus, with July 9 being only 3 weeks away, I regret to say I will not have the chance to see Lin-Manuel in this role this time around, unless he performs it on the National Tour or on Broadway again at some point. Not to fear, his understudy, Javier Muñoz, will be replacing Lin-Manuel and has already received rave reviews for his performances.

As far as pricing goes, up until Lin-Manuel Miranda leaves in 3 weeks, the ticket prices are out of this world. They start at $1,500 or so and go well up to $10,000 on some websites. You can basically only find tickes through or Ticketmaster “resale” tickets. I called a ticket agency in NYC that I’ve used before and the cheapest they could find me was $1,650.00 for the week Lin-Manuel leaves, which was the only time I could fly out to NYC if I really wanted to see it. Sixteen-fifty? Gosh, that’s just so much money. A part of me ALMOST wanted to say “Yes, I’ll buy a ticket,” just so that I had the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to be a part of seeing this show. But then reality hit me, and I realized two things: first, I already have a ticket to “Hamilton” on Broadway that I purchased many months ago, and that show is on Wed, January 25, 2017. I purchased the ticket somewhat on a whim when sales for a new block of tickets had just gone out, and I got a 5th row orchestra seat for about $200. So, while Lin-Manuel won’t be performing that day, I’ll still get to see Hamilton for, virtually, an incredibly good price. (I could also sell the ticket if need be… but we’ll see). Secondly, “Hamilton” is coming to San Francisco for a good two months in March 2017, and while I KNOW tickets will go very fast, I’m sure I’ll be able to snag one up (though, I’ll certainly want to see it at least two times, maybe three if possible!). So, the opportunities to see the show are there, and there’s no need to empty my savings to see the show at an astronomical price; frugality and practicality get in the way of that.

The weeks after Lin-Manuel Miranda leaves, the ticket prices drop, but are still going for no lower than $750 a ticket, it seems. And the reason these prices are so high is not because the THEATRE sets these prices, it’s just because people who resell the tickets know that the demand is so high, kind of like Super Bowl tickets. I’m fairly certain tickets for “Hamilton” range from $175-495, I’ve read, so anything higher than a few hundred dollars, and you know there’s a markup. It baffles me to think of people who are successfully selling like 6 tickets for some $6,000 each, and making a cool $36,000 profit for doing almost no work. Scalping is frowned upon, but apparently not illegal.

So there you have it. My next endeavor is to listen to “Hamilton: The Revolution”, which was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter and released on April 12, 2016 about the creation of Hamilton, partly narrated by the authors, AND MARISKA HARGITAY! “Sgt. Benson” from “Law & Order: SVU”! YES! Just saw this now. I am definitely ordering this audio book today. I’ll likely order a physical copy of the book too, but I am a huge Audible audio book fan (since I drive so much for work).

Until you can see it on Broadway or a National Tour yourself, enjoy the cast album of “Hamilton” and everything this remarkable show has to offer.

-Christopher 🎶🎵

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Thoughts on Earning and Spending Money Habits

One's "Annual Salary" is an interesting thing. I used to think that how much money you made was the only thing that mattered. For example:

Someone in their late-twenties, perhaps having 5 years of work experience in their respective field, making over $100,000/year was considered "successful", someone who was making $60,000/year was "doing well", and someone who was making $30,000/year or less, was perhaps struggling or not working a career in a field that requires a specialized skill. I used to look down upon people who had "minimum wage jobs". I mean, I've done the math: minimum wage JUST went up to $10/hour, and let's say you were lucky enough to have a full-time job that offered you 40 hours a week (a lot of minimum wage jobs don't offer their employees a full 40 hours a week, but rather 30-35/week, so they don't have to pay for benefits). This is $400/week before taxes, which for this example's purpose, let's assume is 15%. That's $340/week take-home pay, and assuming the employee works 52 weeks a year, that's $17,680/year. It's not impossible to live on that salary, but nowadays, minimum wage is NOT a livable salary. Back when it was invented in the early-1900s, yes, it could be considered "livable". Not today. I don't like getting into politics, but you can gather at this point that my thoughts on raising the minimum wage to "$15/hour" in the next 5 years is not a good idea. It will just inflate the USD like CRAZY, an make a coffee $10 or a candy bar $5, and it enourages people to not seek higher up and better employment. I think that starting with a minimum wage job is a great thing, but it's not designed for you to work there your whole life! I have a great respect for people who start at the bottom of the ladder, and work their way up to higher management. I sometimes hear people say "But I don't want that much responsibility," well guess what? That's why you get paid the wage you do, because a minimum wage job has no prerequisite. ANYONE can apply for a minimum wage job as long as long as they're 16 years of age. Okay, now that that's been discussed...

Throughout 2016, I have discussed with friends and family the fact that it's not about how much you MAKE, it's about how much you SAVE. I never really thought about this before. For the sake of example, let's take someone like myself: a 26-year old individual who is single with no dependents. So, that person earning $75,000/year, but who SPENDS all of their money, is NOT in the same category as someone who earns $35,000/year, but who saves 60-75% of their money (an extreme example, but we can assume this person lives rent-free (with parents), as many of my friends do, and who is frugal and saves). This means the first person earning $75K and saves a few thousand a year, is not as financially responsible as the second person, who, earning less than half annually, saving $21-26K/year, has an ASTRONOMICALLY higher chance of success with investing their money and becoming a millionaire within their lifetime. I've been listening to an audio book called "The Millionaire Next Door, and this is exactly what it discusses: the types of people and their earnings vs. savings habits. I want to turn more into the second kind of person, working hard and earning a good income, but SAVING as much of it as possible. I don't need to live a lavish lifestyle, at least not now.

Thus, nowadays I'm less concerned about "hussling" and working as much as humanly possible, but rather saving more and making sure that my bank account continues to grow each week/month, and that I don't see all of my money go to food and entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I still like working a ton throughout the course of a week, but sometimes I look at my Monday-Sunday income, and I think, "I don't even see half of this money!" And it's not because it goes to bills, it's because of the nature of my job, I am hardly ever paid on time. I often don't even like calculating how much money I make in the course of a week until I SEE the money in my hand or it's in my bank account.

I am a sucker for going to Starbucks and spending lots of money on coffee and other overpriced products. I also don't cook at my apartment... ever. I've been to the grocery store probably twice in the last 6 months, and that was to buy medicine. I definitely want to change this, so I can start eating healthier, but also to save money. My 3 biggest categories of spending happen in the following, and I'll include my annual estimate for how much I spend on them:

$12,600 - rent & utilities (based on my current portion of the rent for my apartment + my portion of utilies)
$10,500 - food & coffee (Jan-Dec 2014 actual spending; yes, how awful is this?! Averages to a whopping $875/mo for ONE PERSON! I've done lots of research on this, and many of my friends who cook at home, or spend less or don't drink Starbucks at all, spend some $200-250/mo on food; it doesn't help that I'm constantly on-the-go, but that's still no excuse for spending a ton of money on food, and if I restricted my coffee intake, or just brewed it at home, I'd save a ton, too)
$7,000 - auto expenses (breaks down to some $4K on gas, $1.5K on insurance, $1K on oil changes/maintenance (since I drive so much), and $0.5K on bridge tolls, etc) - yes, I'm going to be clocking some 40,000 miles driven from July 2015-July 2016 for all of my gigs. IN-SANE.

Total: $30,100/year spent

This doesn't even include things like buying clothes throughout the year, my medication, seeing movies/shows, any traveling expenses, entertainment costs...! Thus, individuals who earn less than $30K a year could not live my lifestyle. I'm not sure if it's defined as "lavish" or exhorbitant, superfluous, or excessive (haha synonyms), but if I worked more LOCALLY, and made food at HOME, that would save at least $10K. The rent is somewhat unavoidable if one chooses to live in the Bay Area of California. I could live at home with my parents in Brentwood, but it's not my desired area--truly, the most ideal place for me to live in this industry is Berkeley, Oakland, or San Francisco (all three INSANELY expensive: a one-bedroom apartment is easily $3K/month, or $36K/year; even sharing a 2-bedroom apartment would cost you about $2K/month, or $24K/year). Alameda is nice, too. It's difficult, because I'd love to live in a house again like I did in Stockton, so that I could play piano at any hour of the day, but living with roommates--living with PEOPLE--is hard. I once lived with 5 other people in Stockton; it gets MESSY and things go unaccounted for, and people don't clean up. Not only that, but moving out of Stockton was INCREDIBLY hard--the house and yard was a compelte disaster, and I ended up hoarding a TON of stuff, so I wasn't at all living the "minimalistic lifestyle" like I truly desire.

Because, why live in exess? Why waste money, why own too many things, why go overboard? There is NOTHING wrong with saving money, investing it, and planning for the future. This is going to be my mindset going forward. I was telling a friend on the phone that really, all I want to have is the following:

🎹 2 weeks' worth of clothes, including some nice dress shirts, a suit, and 3 pairs of shoes (casual, running, and dress)
🎹 a few items of sentimental value
🎹 a journal and a few books
🎹 my electronic devices (cell phone, laptop, iMac, iPad, headphones, maybe a camera)
🎹 [and of course, bed linen, towels, toiletries, and kitchenware], but...

...That's IT! Even right now, I feel strange owning a beautiful 1918 Steinway Grand Piano that I don't even play. I feel awkward playing it in my apartment, because I've gotten "knocks from the ceiling" on the floor of my upper neighbor when I play, and that is incredibly uncomfortable to experience. Yet, I'll have the TV or YouTube blasting, and I don't get any complaints. There's just SOMETHING about the sound of a piano that drives ordinary people bonkers. Besides, it hasn't been tuned in the whole time I've been at the apartment, rending its sound reproachful and displeasing. I've enjoyed the time I've had it since November 2012, but I honestly might sell it. I really like my good ol' Yamaha P-120s Digital Keyboard that I obtained in August 2002, and that instrument does not need to be tuned (saving me money, lol), and I can wear headphones, and also use it to trasnscribe, notate, and compose music at my desk.

What would my life be like if I lived in a different country? One that has no tax, even? I assume I'd walk a lot more, make food at my home, and have a very different outlook on life. I've always loved traveling, and more significantly, adventure. Living, working, and thriving in a foreign country would be thrilling and exhilarating. In America, I feel tempted by things like greed and gluttony. I want, and because I'm American, I will have, it seems. Being at a 24/7 Starbucks doesn't help either, fueling my interest in an irregular and odd sleep schedule (haha). My dislikesness for sleep is for a different entry, though :).

-Christopher 🎶🎵